Serial entrepreneur Seth Goldstein, chairman of social music service Turntable.fm, is back with another music project, DJZ - and he's brought in some Silicon Valley backers and an Internet veteran to help him run the company.
With its combination of black and bright colors, the DJZ is aimed at young, mainstream fans of EDM (electronic dance music). The home page is a collection of editorial, videos, DJ mixes and links to pages for the most popular DJs. The posts are so short they make a typical music blog seem longwinded by comparison. Goldstein says market research revealed its target market -- teens and twenty-somethings -- prefer short videos over text.
"DJZ is above all a media company," Goldstein tells Billboard.biz. "It's programming for an audience that doesn't remember a time before the Web."
DJZ is unusual in that it's not a typical startup: Goldstein was able to land investments from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Index Ventures and Google Ventures -- all firms that tend to favor technology over media. But this story has numerous intersections with the music business. Advisors include Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff, media executive Shari Redstone and Kevin Kusatsu, senior VP of A&R at Warner Bros and co-founder of Teamwork, the company that manages EDM artists Diplo, A-Trak, Duck Sauce and Skream and Benga.
In addition, DJZ is connected to two of the more popular streaming platforms, SoundCloud and Spotify. DJZ taps SoundCloud for the DJ mixes it shares with its readers and includes Spotify links in its artist profile pages.
The more surprising aspect of the DJZ experience is the free iPhone app, called DJZTxT, that allows users to create dance music by crafting text messages using emojis, the Japanese term for picture characters.
"The iPhone app is joyous," says Goldstein. "If you can text somebody with emojis, you can use DJZTxT to create and share electronic dance music with your friends. Each emoji is a different layer of sound. You can send messages and add emojis. That gets converted into a song that you can then share on Facebook and Twitter as well."
The DJZ staff of 15 people is a mix of technology, creative and business people with content primarily in New York and development primarily in San Francisco. Goldstein tapped into his network of contacts to lure Jim Crosby, a former executive at AOL.com, to be the company's head of production and content.
"We're a mix of 23-year-olds and 43-year-olds," says Goldstein. "It's a really good group. We're all passionate about music."